Posts for: October, 2016
Primary (baby) teeth don't last long. But despite their short life span, they do a number of important things, like enabling a child to eat solid food. But perhaps their most important long-term function is “paving” the way for their permanent replacements.
If one is lost prematurely, though, the permanent tooth might not come in properly aligned. That's why if a primary tooth is in danger of loss due to decay or injury, we'll do our best to save it.
But that could get a little tricky if the infected or damaged part of the tooth is the innermost pulp. If it were an adult tooth, the best course might be a root canal treatment: access the pulp, clear out the diseased tissue, and then fill the space with a special filling. But with a primary tooth (or a young permanent tooth for that matter) that may not be advisable.
That's because the pulp plays a more important role in a child's tooth than an adult's. Its nerves and other tissues stimulate dentin growth; a full root canal could disrupt that growth and weaken the tooth in the long run.
With a child's tooth, we proceed carefully depending on how infected or damaged the pulp might be. If it's only slightly exposed or not at all, we try then to remove as much decayed tooth material outside the pulp as necessary, then apply antibacterial agents or dentin growth stimulators.
If we do have pulp exposure, we'll try to remove only as much of the affected pulp as necessary through a procedure called a pulpotomy. This technique will only be used if the remaining pulp looks healthy or restorable to health.
If not, we may need to perform a pulpectomy to remove the entire pulp. Most like a typical root canal, it's a last resort: without the pulp, dentin growth could be stunted and the tooth won't develop as healthy as it should.
Of course, the best approach is to prevent teeth from developing such problems in the first place. So, be sure to practice effective daily hygiene with your child and keep up regular dental visits beginning at age one.
If you would like more information on treating decayed primary teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment for Children's Teeth.”
Dental crowns offer an excellent way to restore damaged teeth and improve your smile. Dr. Joseph Zaky, your Yorktown Heights, NY dentist at Dental Implant and Cosmetic, PC, shares information about this versatile restoration option.
What are crowns?
Crowns, also called caps, strengthen and restore damaged teeth. Your dentist may recommend a crown if you have chips or cracks or a broken tooth. Crowns are also helpful if a dental procedure has weakened a tooth, making it more susceptible to fracturing. For example, a large cavity can destroy a significant amount of healthy tooth structure and make the tooth more likely to crack and break if you don't take steps to protect it. Since hollow crowns cover teeth completely, they're a good choice to stabilize broken teeth.
Crowns are made from a variety of materials that look very much like your tooth enamel and are just as strong, including porcelain, ceramic, porcelain-fused-to-metal and resin. Other choices include metal alloys and gold.
Are crowns used for other purposes?
Crowns are also used to improve the appearance of teeth or make chewing easier. If you want to hide an imperfection in a tooth, a crown offers an easy way to make that little flaw disappear. Crowns provide excellent coverage for discolorations, strangely shaped teeth and slightly crooked teeth. They're also used to lengthen short teeth, as one or more short teeth can affect your bite and your ability to chew foods.
Is the crown process complicated?
Getting a crown only takes two appointments. During the first appointment, your Yorktown Heights dentist will reduce the size of your tooth slightly. Reducing the tooth is necessary to ensure that your new crown fits well. After reducing the tooth, he'll make an impression of your mouth and create a temporary crown that you'll wear until your permanent crown is ready. Permanent crowns usually require a few minor adjustments for a perfect fit. Once your crown is adjusted, your dentist will attach it to your mouth with dental cement.
Dental crowns can help you keep smiling! Call Dr. Zaky, your Yorktown Heights, NY dentist at Dental Implant and Cosmetic, PC, at (914) 243-7777 to make an appointment. Restore your smile with dental crowns.
In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.
When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”
Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.
There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.
By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.
So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.
If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.